A French map made in 1894 marking Dokdo Island as Korean territory has been found. This map clearly indicates the border between Korea and Japan on the East Sea, and Dokdo, along with Ulleong Island, is inscribed as “Usando (I.Quen-San).” Bibliographer Oh Su-yeol recently obtained this map, and made it public on Thursday.
The map was published on Sep. 3, 1894, as a full-page illustration in the Sunday edition of the Le Petit Journal, a daily newspaper. Titled “A Map of Korea, Japan, and East China (Carte de la Cor e du Japon et de la Chine Oriental),” the topography, borders between main cities, provinces, and sea roads of Korea and Japan are drawn out in detail.
The border between the Korean peninsula and Japan is indicated with a dotted line, with the words, “Japan’s Sea Borders (Limite des eaux japonaises).” This line begins at the East Sea of China, across the Straits of Korea, to 39 degrees parallel, and the island “Usando” is marked 220 to 400 kilometers west of this line.
Asked about the map, Hanyang University professor Shin Yong-ha said it was the first time that a map with clear sea borderlines showing the definite territorial possession of Dokdo Island had been made public. He said that the map shows why Koreans clearly thought of Dokdo Island as Korean territory up to the time of the Japanese invasion, and that it is “pure evidence that the international community also recognized it as such.”
Japan has argued that Dokdo Island was without ownership until Japan won it after its victory in the Russo-Japanese war in 1905, but the French map proves that such claims are groundless.